Mark 16:15 (NIV)
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, based the ministry of the Army on the premise that you cannot separate the body and soul. Booth realized that in order to win his constituents’ souls he would have to relieve their physical wretchedness—their hunger, poverty, intemperance and unemployment. Hence, with the assistance of his wife Catherine and son Bramwell, he built up a network of agencies of social relief and rehabilitation, supported by funds Booth was able to raise. In 1890 the book 'In Darkest England and the Way Out' was published by journalist W. T. Stead, but it bore Booth’s name and embodied his ideas. It vividly depicted the miserable life of the “submerged tenth” of the population.
Things are better now, but not everywhere and not by much. The world still faces poverty, hunger and physical wretchedness and Booth’s premise is as valid today as it was over 100 years ago. It is still almost impossible to bring people to Christ if they have no food, no job and no roof over their head. Here in Australia, and doubtless in many other countries, we often have debate about the involvement of the church in social issues and references to government policies. There are those in positions of power who think that the church should not be involved in such matters. But you cannot separate the body and the soul.
As believers, we have access to the treasure house of the King. We desire to be enriched by God’s grace and we need to have faith, the only key to that treasure. That faith must extend to the belief that we can make a difference, that we can do something to make the world a better place, that we can touch the lives of those unfortunates through our concern and our compassion. The Salvation Army, after encountering initial opposition, won widespread acceptance for its success in reclaiming the drunkard, the depraved, and the irreligious. It has been described as one of the most successful religious revivals of modern times - Christianity with its sleeves rolled up.
It happened then, by faith. Is there any reason why now, by faith, it cannot happen again? Faith has never yet outstripped the bounty of the Lord.
Dear Lord, help us look around us and see what needs to be done. Help us make a difference in someone's life today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.